By Ismail Omipidan It was a Wednesday morning, February 17, 2010, to be precise. There was tension everywhere. The then President, Umaru Yar’Adua, had been out of the country for 72 days, on medical grounds, without handing over to the then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan. But there was no one courageous enough among the cabinet…
Shortly before the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP, the leadership of both parties raised alarm that the Government at Awka released hundreds of millions of Naira to people to disorganise their primaries or influence the emergence of a weak candidate. The calculation was based on the fact that they consider Mr. Oseloka Obaze the most credible candidate, who could even beat the incumbent in the polls while sleeping.
On Friday, before the primaries of the PDP, the Government at Awka, using a fake name, sponsored a publication in many newspapers, entitled: “No to Peter Obi’s Stooge.” In the article, they etched in acid the life portrait of Obi and Oseloka. Conscience rarely troubles them. Their far-reaching aim is to damage the reputation of both and make them appear as blood-sucking ogres to Anambra people. At a time Gov. Obiano should be telling the people of Anambra State what he did for them, he is busy castigating Obi and Obaze.
On Friday, the 1st of September, 2017, the government at Awka published another article in many newspapers, appending the non-existent name of Chinedu Nzeribe as the author. They usually read those articles as commentaries on Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS). Entitled: Anambra: Godfathers Futile Dance, reading through the entire piece was like going around a lunatic asylum. The leitmotif of the piece is that Mr. Peter Obi is playing the Godfather by trying to impose Mr. Oseloka Obaze on Anambra people. They went on to say that Obi fell out of favour with Obiano because he demanded to be paid 7 billion Naira as campaign expenses! Obiano should not be sending his boys on weighty issues, he should come out and say if Obi ever demanded any money or anything from him. As we speak, Obi has not been paid his gratuity and severance allowances as well as pension. He has not received anything in any form from the present government. During the handover, he said it clearly that he had no agreement with any person in any form.
Was the article just? Of course not. I have not seen any human being who will benefit what Obiano benefitted from Obi only to raise hands against him. Watch them daily at Awka and you will notice that a certain conserving indolence of body and mind keep them aimless and tactless, but once the name of Peter Obi is mentioned, they will be roused from stupor, either directly or indirectly, to start drooling.
Not as if Obi did anything to him for the war started immediately he was announced the winner of the election in 2013. Immediately Obi handed over government to Obiano at the Ekwueme Square, the observant Sen. Uche Ekwunife reminded him of the need to see Obi off to his vehicle, as he was leaving for Abuja the same day from the arena. In a reaction that is heart-breaking to remember, Obiano said he was very busy and should not be disturbed with little things. As far as far sighted people were concerned, that act was his inaugural speech, a statement on how he would treat a man that made him a governor without his contributing anything.
During the 2013 gubernatorial debate in Anambra, the question of EXPO badly dented us that we kept sleepless night controlling the damage. During the debate between him and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah in the USA, at the World Igbo Congress in 2013, Obiano spoke out of point and could not even remember the name of his deputy. It took the intervention of Obi to turn the table around. He realised that and had to walk to Obi after the debate and apologised for letting everybody down. In spite of his many failures, he was prodded on. Today, all he thanks the man and the team, including Mr. Oseloka Obaze that made him is to let out a horde of minions on them. The other day, Mr. Egbuna Amuta was on air, calling Obi names and as usual, exhibiting all the fury of a maniac.
Many people were recruited for what they defined as Knock-out-blow on Obi and lately Oseloka, that is their utter destruction. In doing all this, he ended up showing the entire world that he is amateur in everything but propaganda.
As if the foregoing were not enough, he connived with Chief Victor Umeh and drove Obi out of the party in front of three Bishops. Pronto, they commissioned Mr. Egbuna Amuta, who was later rewarded by being made an SA, to produce two sets of films on Obi, entitled “The Inconsistency of a Man” and “The Face of Deceit.” In both films, they described Obi in terms so crude as if they were describing an anti-Christ.
Did you listen to his last interview on Channels? Throughout the interview, his countenance was sober and severe, expressing an infinite capacity for hate and mischief. Does he ever realise that Obi is his senior in all ramifications? Despite the invitation to defend himself by Channels, Obi declined.
Was the article under reference factual? Not at all, for it contained its due quota of nonsense and lies against Obi. From the article, one would notice that having failed in stopping the PDP and Oseloka, their campaign thrust is to demonise Obi, put his character in issue and try to play with the lie that he demanded 7 billion Naira to arouse the hatred of Anambra people. One of the wonders of Anambra is that the more they try to demonise Obi, the more he is lifted many notches up.
On the 23rd of December, 2016 a kindly Bishop probably believing that the drama of plea for forgiveness was genuine, accompanied Gov. Obiano to Obi’s residence in Onitsha with the sole aim, following the footsteps of Christ, of preaching together to them about the virtues of love and the need to make sacrifices for the good of the state. In front of the Bishop, Obi asked him if he ever demanded anything from him, not to talk of 7 billion Naira. The governor said no, that it was his boys that were spreading the falsehood. That visit was the only one by the governor to Obi since he became the governor. Today, he has commissioned his people to be singing it every day even when he knows it is a lie. If Obi wanted 7 billion, he could have easily taken it from the over 100 billion he left for him.
I really do not understand why some people are not aware that the plea for forgiveness was a political ruse geared towards securing a second term. Obi in his gentle nature, has always explained that as a member of the PDP now, his allegiance is with the party and if he must campaign, it will be for the party. Having forced him out of APGA, do they want him to be guilty of anti-party activities and be expelled from the PDP to become partyless?
Was the article timely? Yes, because it is their campaign tool to rubbish Obi and Oseloka. They are aware that Anambra people are eagerly awaiting Obi to show them the direction to go. They need a man who will continue governance from where he stopped and not a jester that is only skilled in propaganda. Obi won the hearts of Anambra people by his hard work, strong character, his modest simplicity and, of course, the God given gift of surplus of energy in body and mind.
Yes, the article was timely because the man that emerged as PDP candidate is a man after the heart of the people of the state and they need to destroy him through any means possible. Oseloka is the man of the moment. His modesty and integrity, his almost ascetic life, devotion to the good, his finesse, his prudence in counsel have endeared him to the people of the state. We need him because he differs from the man that is there turning everything upside down, as the virtues of war differ from those of peace.
The tragedy of Anambra of today is not so much in the appointment of over 1000 aides, half of whose job description is to abuse Mr. Peter Obi, but in the abortion of a great vision hinged on Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). Anambra needs a man who is part and parcel of the success of ANIDS to mount the saddle and that man is Mr. Oseloka Obaze.
• Obienyem wrote from Lagos